« 上一頁繼續 »
WASHINGTON City, July 1, 1829. DEAR SIR: As some unfavorable representations have been made respect ing the lands at Deer point which have been sold to the Government for the purpose of cultivating the live oak, you will confer a favor on me by answering the following queries:
1. Does the point appear to abound in live oak of a young thrifty growth and is it, in your opinion, worthy the attention of the Government?
2. Does it appear adapted to the purpose proposed, of forming a live oak plantation, principally by nursing the natural growth, as well as transplant. ing?
3. Is it, in your opinion, an extravagant purchase on the part of the Government at two dollars an acre, for the purpose of preserving the live oak?
· I am, respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
H. M. BRECKENRIDGE. Wm. M. M'CARTY, Esq.
WASHINGTON, July 2, 1829. DEAR SIR: As far as my information extends, it will give me pleasure to reply to your inquiries relative to the live oak on Deer point. In November last, I was on the tract of land sold in part by yourself to the Government, but I did not examine it accurately. The hammocks of live oak appeared, however, to be extensive, and the growth thrifty; and the soil is, no doubt, adapted to the production of this particular timber, which might be transplanted to advantage. The preservation and encouragement of this growth at a point so convenient to the Navy yard on that coast is, doubtless, an object well worthy the attention of the Government; and the price of two dollars per acre, at which you informed me it was obtained, is certainly not above its value.
Very respectfully, yours,
WM. M. M'CARTY. Hon. H. M. BRECKENRIDGE.
WASHINGTON, January 14, 1831. SIR: In answer to your note inquiring my opinion of the price of the land between Sta. Rosa sound and Pensacola bay, formerly owned by Judge Breckenridge and yourself, near Pensacola, I have no hesitation in express ing my opinion that it is worth from three to five dollars an acre.
I am your most obedient servant,
R. C. BRENT.
DONATIONS OF LAND TO DISBANDED OFFICERS OF THE LATE WAR.
MARCH 1, 1931. .
Mr. DUNCAN, from the Committee on the Public Lands, to whom the sub
ject had been referred, made the following
The Committee on the Public Lands, to whom have been referred sundry memorials from the Legislatures of Stales, and of officers of the army of the United States in the late war with Great Britain, and who were disbanded at its termination, praying that lands may be granted to officers who served in that war, und were disbanded at its termination, and to the heirs of those who were killed in battle, or died in service, report:
That they have given to the subject that serious and deliberate attention which its importance to the memorialists, in a pecuniary point of view, and to the nation, in the effects which its decision may have in after times.
Before proceeding to pronounce the result of their deliberations, the committee will take a view of the proceedings which have already been had by the House upon this subject.
At the close of the war with Great Britain, a bill was reported to the House, fixing the military peace establishment of the United States, and for disbanding a portion of that gallant army which has so successfully carried the country through that war. The sixth section of that bill contained the following clause:
" That there shall, moreover, be allowed and granted to every such officer, (meaning those who should be disbanded,] in consideration of services during the late war, the following donations in land, viz: to a major general, 2,560 acres; to a brigadier general, 1,920 acres; to each colonel and lieutenant colonel, 1,250 acres; to each major, 960 acres; to each captain, 640 acres; to each subaltern, 480; and to the representatives of such officers as shall have fallen, or died in service, during the late war, the like number of acres, according to the rank they held, respectively, at the time of their decease, to be designated, surveyed, and laid off at the public expense,”
On the 27th February, 1815, a few days before the termination of the session, a motion was made by Mr. Cannon, a member of the House of Representatives from the State of Tennessee, to strike out this portion of the bill. The question was taken by ayes and noes, and the motion prevailed by a majority of only four votes.
On the next day, the 29th February, 1915, a motion was made bydlr. Alston to re-consider the vote, upon striking out the provision. The rote on re-consideration was also taken by ayes and noes, and prevailed by a majority of fourteen voles.
The question was then again put, on striking out the clause, and decided against it. Upon the second vote, the ayes and noes were not taken; and the committee have learned that the opposition to it had been almost wholly, if not entirely, withdrawn in the House.
In this form the bill went to the Senate of the United States; in which body it was amended, by increasing the amcunt of force to be retained from six thousand men to fifteen thousand men, and by striking out the bounty land provision.
On the second of March, the House of Representatives disagreed to tae amendments of the Senate. On the same day, the Senate insisted on their amendments. The House also insisted: a conference was proposed, and agreed to by the House. The conferees reported a compromise, that the Senate should agree to reduce the army to ten thousand men, and that any House should abandon that portion of the bill which provided grants of land to the disbanded officers.
On the third of March, the last day of the session, and almost at its hour, the compromise recommended by the conferees came up for consider, ation; and the question to agree to ihat portion of it which abandoned grants of land to the officers was taken by ayes and noes, and carried !? a bare majority of two votos--ayes 57, voes 55. That part of the com promise which related to the number of men to be retained in scrvilt, he carried by a very large majority 70 to 38.
'Thus, it will be perceived that these gallant men, at the only perio their claims came fairly before the House for decision, lost their land by two votes, and that, too, in consequence of a compromise between u Houses upon the subject of the quantum of force to be retained in u vice.
At the succeeding session of Congress, (the 1st of the 141h,) the su was agnin brought up; and on the 13th of December, 1810, a bill was to the House by its Committee on Military Affairs, authorizing & land, to the disbanded officers of the late war, and the heirs and repr tives of those who were killed or died in service.
This bill was permitted to remain without any action or decision until the Congress in which it was reported expired.
On the 9th Deceniber, 1917, the following resolution was intr the Housc:
Resolved, That it is expedient to provide bv law for the disbane. deranged officers of the army of the United States who served 1 war against Great Britain, by donations in land, viz: to a major geos acres, a brigadier general 1,120 acres, a colonel and lieutenant acres each, a major 800 acres, a captain 040 acres, and subalternis 7 and no further action took place during the session.
Thus the matter remained until the first session of the 19th Cong. it was again brought before the House by a simultaneous efforto themselves. Their memorials were referred to a select committed of Mr. Cook, of Illinois, Mr. Garnsey, of New York, Mr. " Jersey, Mr. Bailey, of Massachusetts, and Mr. Metcalfe, of Kentucky
This committee on the 17th March, 1896, made a favorable reporta" herein embodied, viz:
"s and representa
solution was introduced into
for the disbanded and ho served in the late
najor general 1,280 eutenant colonel 960
res, and subalterns 480 acres:
of the 19th Congress, when neous effort of the officers
† committee, consisting ork, Mr. Swan, of New
report; which is
66 The select committee, to which was referred the petition of sundry offi
cers of the army of the late war, praying a grant of land, in consideration of their sacrifices and services, report:
“ That it is deemed by the committee but fair and reasonable that the merits of their claim should be duly investigated and considered by the House. Their severe and arduous services, in the momentous struggle in which they were engaged, entitles their application to the most liberal consideration that justice and sound policy will allow. With a view, therefore, to bring the subject fairly before the House, and that it may act on the question, unincumbered by details, the committee propose to the House the following rosolution.
“Resolved, That it is expedient to make provision, by law, for granting to each of the officers of the army, who served during the late war, a quantity of land, according to their rank, as a remuneration for their sacrifices, sufferings, and faithful services.”
The press of business usually attendant on the latter portion of a session of Congress precluded the possibility of a deliberate consideration of this report. It does not appear from the journals of the House that it ever came up for final decision.
At three subsequent sessions of Congress, viz. the 2d of the 19th, the 1st of the 20th, and the 1st of the 21st, the subject was again referred to coinmittees; but the multiplicity of more pressing or immediate concerns having so exclusively engrossed their attention as to preclude the possibility of devoting that attention to this subject which its magnitude and importance required, it passed off until the present time.
Thus, this subject has, with liitle intermission, becn before Congress from the termination of the late war with Great Britain to the present time.
In the commencement of the war, which terminated in establishing the independence of our country, pay and subsistence were the only rewards held out by the Government to their officers and soldiers. To their own exertions were they to be indebted for that greater and more inestimable reward their own liberty and that of their posterity. Yet, notwithstanding the great and inapplicable value of the prize which was to be worn or lost, notwithstanding the overflowing patriotism of the country, the love of freedom in-herent in man, and the desire to win it for himself, and to transmit it to his children, as well as the monthly pay promised the officers by the Government, it was found necessary, in order to stimulato the zeal and patriotism, enliven the drooping spirits of the officers of that army, and to induce them to continue in the army, to make them promises of large grants of land; accordingly, Congress, as early as the 16th September, 1776, passed a resolve that the officers and soldiers of its army should receive grunts of land. The salutary consequences, and the high importance of this promise, were seen almost as soon as it was adopted. Many highly meritorious officers, whose pecuniary embarrassments, or the situation of whose families seemed to render it their duty to retire from the public service to provide for their families, buoyed up with the pleasing anticipation of this ultimate source of profit, abandoned their intentions to retire, and continued in the service the final triumph of the cause, in which they had acquired a consideration of no mean importance in any hotly contested war. But in order the more clearly to show the sense entertained by the country of the importance of the services of the oflicers of the revolutionary army, several of the States of the Union, within whose boundaries or jurisdiction there were vacant and unappropriated lands, notwithstanding that the General Congress had alre. dy made liberal promises, following the gencrous impulse thus given, did, from time to time, provide liberal bounties in land for their respective State lines in the continental service.
Before the commencement of the late war with Great Britain, but after it was perceived that a controversy with that nation was no longer to be avoided, without a sacrifice of the independence which had been so nobly won by the army of the revolution, Congress, aware of the vast benefits which had resulted in the resolution from the promise of land to the soldiers, adopted the very same policy of promising grants of land to the privates.
By the act of December 24th, 1811, the soldiers, whose enlistment that act authorized, received one hundred and sixty acres; and subsequently, whilst the war, which soon after followed, was raging in its utmost fury, and to encourage enlistments, the quantum was increased to three hundred and twenty acres. It was in the army to which bounties were thus given to privates, that the memorialists were officers; and gailant officers the his. tory of that war amply proves they were. If the soldiers of that army, and even the heirs of those who volunteered their services for a given and short period, but who were killed or died in service, had such large, recog. nised claims on the hounty of the nation, it is not in the opinion of the committee easily to be perceived why their officers, who, by toil, industry, and sleepless nights, ministered to their wants, watched over their health and safety, drilled them into efficiency, brought them into the field, and fought at their head, have not claims equally strong.
Further, to show the inequality which appeared to have existed in the legislation of that day, a bounty of land was promised to the heirs of volunteers, including their officers, who might be killed or die in service; and regular bounties in land were promised to volunteers from Canada, including, specially, the officers of every grade, from a colonel to a subaltern. Many of these volunteer officers, both native and Canadian, fought side by side with the memorialists against the common enemy; and if, by the fortune of war, one of each description sealed his devotion to his country on the battle field by his life, the family of the volunteer would be rewarded by a grant of a large and valuable tract of public domain, to be an asylum and a home for the widow and the children of a gallant father; while the widow and the children of the officer of the regular army, whose claims upon his country, by every process of reasoning, must be admitted to be at least as strong as those of any volunteer of any description whatever, had to bear their loss, with no other reward but the sympathy of their friends, and the legacy of his brave and honorable name. But this is not all. There have been instances where officers have lost their lives in battle, or in the discharge of perilous duties, and whose papers at the same time were lost or destroyed, in which the heirs, instead of receiving a reward from the common stock for their irreparable loss, have been called upon to refund money to the public-moneys placed in the hands of their father for distribution; of the faithtul application of which, in consequence of the loss of papers, no certain evidence could be produced; and in the recovery of this doubtful debt, the home which had been left to the fatherless children has been sold from them, and they hare been turned pennyless upon the carth. This is no imaginary picture: the fact has occurred in more cases than one, and the memorials on the files of the House, it is believed, will attest it.
But it was not alone to the army of the revolution, the soldiers of the late war with Great Britain, and Canadian volunteers, that the policy of